THE NRA ATTACK ON THE PROBLEM
The preceding chapter has indicated that the trade practice problem is an old problem and one fraught with difficulties and with issues of the most serious kind.
The NRA was not the first agency to deal with this problem. For centuries the common law has been dealing with it; state and federal statutes have made it a chief concern; trade associations have devoted attention to it; in large part the establishment of the Federal Trade Commission grew out of it; and a major portion of the Commission's activities have dealt with it.
The task which confronted the NRA in dealing with trade practices was in certain ways much more difficult than that with which any of its predecessors had been burdened. This came from the fact that the law which created the Recovery Administration required it to deal not only with trade practices but with a series of other extremely difficult duties which had not fallen upon any of its predecessors in trade practice regulation. No other administrative agency had ever been charged with responsibility for the trade practice problem and at the same time with the tasks of lifting the country from depression and restoring prosperity, inducing and maintaining united action of labor and management, reducing and relieving unemployment, and improving standards of labor. Moreover, these duties bespoke no consistent philosophy; some were indeed in the very terms of the law practically contradictions.
At the same time that the burden of attaining these new objectives was laid upon the Recovery Administra-